Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn't keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.

In a dropshipping business model, the seller typically partners with a dropshipping supplier or wholesaler who handles inventory, packaging, and shipping. This arrangement allows the seller to focus on marketing, customer service, and managing their online store without the overhead costs and logistical complexities associated with traditional retail.

Key advantages of dropshipping include:

1. **Low Overhead:** Since you don't need to invest in inventory upfront, the costs associated with stocking and storing products are eliminated.
2. **Flexibility:** Dropshipping allows you to offer a wide variety of products without the need to manage inventory, making it easier to adapt to market trends and customer demands.
3. **Scalability:** With dropshipping, you can quickly scale your business without worrying about the constraints of inventory management and fulfillment logistics.
4. **Location Independence:** Dropshipping can be managed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it suitable for entrepreneurs who prefer a flexible lifestyle.

However, dropshipping also has some drawbacks, including:

1. **Lower Profit Margins:** Since you're not buying products in bulk, unit costs may be higher, resulting in thinner profit margins compared to traditional retail models.
2. **Less Control Over Fulfillment:** Because you're relying on third-party suppliers for inventory and shipping, you have less control over the fulfillment process, which can impact customer satisfaction.
3. **Supplier Dependence:** Your business's success is partly dependent on the reliability and efficiency of your dropshipping suppliers. Issues such as stockouts, shipping delays, or product quality problems can affect your reputation and bottom line.

Overall, dropshipping can be a viable business model for those looking to start an online retail business with minimal upfront investment and reduced operational complexity. However, success in dropshipping requires effective marketing, product selection, and diligent management of supplier relationships and customer expectations.